Chris Schwarz's Blog

Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

One of my first orders from the Lee Valley Tools catalog was for a big supply of these traditional ring pulls. I love this fastener for so many reasons. It is inexpensive. It looks great. It is made in Italy. It works with a wide variety of furniture styles, from Japanese tansu to contemporary.

But it is not easy to install.

Indeed, since 1996 I have received dozens of pleas from readers asking how to install this pull. They have offered me money, fame and wheels of fragrant cheese.

I have always declined. After all, I spent four years in the octagon of hardware installation, learning the right way to wield the hammer and the needlenose pliers. I studied the subtle twist of the putty knife under master Lee. I practiced the gentle way to push the nubbin of the steel staple into its perfectly sized hole under the third son of the founder of Shotokan, whom we call Giko.

And now I give this to you.

With banjos.

— Christopher Schwarz

14 thoughts on “Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

  1. dkull

    The Lee Valley website suggests that the traditional ring pulls may be installed using only a hammer (or a rock). I noticed that you used pliers to bend the prongs…is there a chance you are installing the hardware incorrectly? Suppose someone were to use a rock, in lieu of a hammer for the installation. What size/shape rock would you use?

    1. JWatriss

      In point if fact, the ring pull is a long-standing item in the Lee Valley catalog, and has outlived their stock of the corresponding tool in question.

      Back in the day, they sold German-made rocks under the Schwanzstucker (“tail-tucker”) brand, in three sizes.

      According to urban myth, it was a problematic product. Most folks assumed that if you had a bigger Schwanzstucker, you could get the job done with fewer strokes. But not everybody needs one that big banging around in their drawers. As with most tools, possession and proficiency are not the same thing, and realistically speaking, the big Schwanzstucker was a horribly clumsy tool… Fun, but unpredictable when it came to achieving the desired result.

  2. Bill Lattanzio

    I installed one on the drawer in our powder room that was very similar to yours. I found it laying in the drawer when we bought the house. I guess the former owner didn’t want to put it on. I used a pair of linesman’s pliers though. I prefer brute force.

  3. Fair Woodworking

    Kind’a funny that this post reads a little different on my Google mobile app. The video does not show, so it appears that the complete answer on installation is that it is done “with” banjos.

    After a quick search on different models of Banjo, I was leaning towards ordering the “Clawhammer” banjo vs. the better known “Dixieland”,and “Bluegrass” models.

    Thanks for the video Chris. It makes much more sense now!

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